This is an excerpt from our family's year end letter:
Kerry writes: When I look back at all that has happened to me this last year, I am grateful to God that I am still alive today. I had serious complications after renal artery aneurysm surgery, in June, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. I had a stroke, seizures, and was in a coma for 5-6 days. I could not swallow or breathe on my own. While I was in the coma, God gave me a wonderful gift. I woke up for a short time and heard Dennis tell elders from our church, an update on what had happened to me. Dennis told them that my surgery had been successful and that I did well during the surgery. I shook my head no, because I thought the surgery had not happened. I listened to everyone pray for me and then I went back to sleep. I knew I was in God’s care. The stroke affected my vocal cords and right side of my body. I also contracted pneumonia, and had a heart attack. I had vocal cord surgery to help my vocal cord paralysis. I was in a rehabilitation facility for a week and a half. I was home for one day, when I aspirated and ended up in West Hills Hospital for a week with pneumonia. I was home for two days, when my defibrillator (implanted Dec. 2010) shocked my heart 15 times, so back in the hospital I went for two more weeks. My heart was not damaged, just bruised (Praise the Lord!) I was in the hospital for a total of two and a half months. I was able to start eating a pureed diet and eventually was able to swallow my medications. I had the feeding tube removed at the end of September. I am still recovering, and doing out-patient occupational, physical, and speech therapy. I don’t know why I had to go through so much this year, but I know that God has kept my spirit at peace and strengthened my soul through it all. God knows what He is doing, and that is all that matters. I have hope in the Lord for the New Year ahead.
My family and friends have been amazing in their love, prayers, and encouragement. I am so grateful for the friends that came to visit me while I was in the hospital. This trial has drawn our family closer together. I praise God in this. I had time with Emily, while I was in the hospital, which meant so much. Emily brought me flowers multiple times, gave me massages, painted my fingernails, played me fun songs and videos on her droid, and placed many smiles on my face. I love my Sunshine girl!! Visits from Craig were very special. Craig read lots of scripture. I will always remember his reading of Psalm 119, parts of Job, and whole books from the New Testament. God has gifted Craig with a beautiful voice and much encouragement. I love my Craig!! My beloved Dennis has been a pillar of love and encouragement to me. Knowing that Dennis loves me so much and is passionately committed to our marriage keeps me going. My mom came to help take care of me in August. She was a wonderful comfort to me. My mommy has a whole lot of love in her heart. She did not feel well while she was here, but she was faithful to be by my bedside each day. I love my mommy!! My friend, Diane Childers (high school buddy), came to take care of me at the end of September. It was good to catch up on our lives, and get my not feeling so well, off my mind. Diane blessed me with much encouragement. My Dad came to visit at the end of October for a few days. He has finished putting together his genealogy book about our family, and it is now published. His research shows that we are related to Robert Frost the poet, Lady Di, and William Bradford of Mayflower fame. I love my Daddy! My friend Cathy Fritz Bahler (high school buddy) came to take care of me in November. I don’t think I have laughed so hard in a very long time. She made some meals to go in the freezer, and a double batch of peanut butter cookies, yum! Cathy is a physical therapist and so she gave me some exercises to help me until my outpatient therapies would begin. Our Christmas was filled with laughter, love, and rejoicing in the birth of our Savior.